Current Issue

STEM Education News

October 24, 2014

In This Issue:

AEF News
Call for Peer Reviewers – Volunteer to review the 2015-16 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program applications

Triangle Coalition for STEM Education is seeking individuals to assist in the peer review of the 2015-16 candidate applications for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program. The AEF Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K -12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena in Washington, DC. Fellows spend 11 months working in a Federal agency or U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to STEM education programs and/or education policy efforts.

All eligible applications are subject to external peer review as part of the process to select the most outstanding, qualified applicants. Critical to the integrity and quality of that peer review process is the participation of volunteer experts as reviewers. Read more.


Triangle Coalition Recognizes Dr. Jeff Weld for STEM Education Dedication

On October 9, 2014, Triangle Coalition for STEM Education honored Dr. Jeff Weld, Executive Director of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, with the 2014 STEM Education Champion Award. Triangle Coalition’s CEO, Jessica Bridges, and Vice President, Larisa Schelkin, presented Weld with the award during the luncheon at the 14th Annual STEM Education Conference in Washington, DC. The Triangle Coalition Board of Directors selected Weld as this year’s Champion for his outstanding dedication and countless contributions as a STEM education advocate – in the state of Iowa and throughout the nation.

In addition to working with the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council since 2011, Weld has directed the Iowa Mathematics & Science Education Partnership, the Advisory Council’s operations arm, since 2008 and is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). In 2007, the National Association of Biology Teachers named Weld the College Biology Teacher of the Year- 4-year Institutions. He has authored more than fifty research articles, essays, book chapters, and the textbook, The Game of Science Education, published in 2004. Weld is past President of the Iowa Science Teachers association and of UNI’s chapter of Sigma Xi — the scientific research society. Prior to joining UNI, Jeff served on the faculty at Oklahoma State University after earning a doctorate in Science Education with an emphasis in ecology and endocrinology from the University of Iowa in 1998. Formerly a high school biology and chemistry teacher in Texas, Missouri, and Iowa, Jeff was named the Ciba-Geigy 1993 Life Science Teacher of the Year in Iowa; a 1994 recipient of the Pella Corporation Focus on Teaching Excellence award; and in 1995 one of fifty national Access Excellence Fellows of the Genentech corporation. Weld serves on several state and national boards including the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation. Weld has also served as on the Triangle Coalition for STEM Education Board of Directors since 2012.

“Jeff is a ‘leader among leaders’ in the STEM community, a tireless advocate for STEM Education, and a valued member of the Triangle Coalition Board of Directors,” stated Jessica Bridges, CEO of Triangle Coalition for STEM Education. “He has an unassailable reputation within our membership as a thinker, problem solver, and bridge builder.  I’m delighted the 2014 STEM Champion Award was bestowed upon such a deserving individual!”


STEM Opportunity for School Districts: Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 8 to the International Space Station

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, and NanoRacks announce Mission 8 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-14 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station. The program nurtures ownership in learning, critical thinking, problem solving, navigation of an interdisciplinary landscape, and communication skills – all reflective of the Next Generation Science Standards, and reflective of the skills needed by professional scientists and engineers, and the skills desired by 21st century employers.

Each participating community will be provided a real microgravity research mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single experiment, and all launch services to fly it to Space Station in Fall 2015, and return is safely to Earth for student harvesting and analysis. A 9-week experiment design competition in each community, held February through April 2015, and engaging typically 300 students, allows student teams to design and formally propose real experiments vying for their community’s reserved mini-lab on Space Station. A formal 2-step proposal review process, mirroring professional review, will determine the community’s flight experiment. Content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education. This includes a local art and design competition for a Mission Patch to accompany the flight experiment to Space Station. SSEP therefore provides for a community-wide STEAM experience.

TIME CRITICAL: All interested communities are asked to inquire by November 15, 2014; schools and districts need to assess interest with their staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan. Communities must be aboard by February 16, 2015, for a 9-week experiment design phase February 23 to April 24, 2015, and flight experiment selection by May 28, 2015. Flight of the selected experiment to ISS is expected in Fall 2015.

Learn more at or contact Dr. Jeff Goldstein, SSEP Program Director; 301-395-0770;


Nominate an Outstanding Teacher for the Presidential Award

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are now accepting nominations for the 2015 awards. Educators teaching mathematics, science and computer science in grades 7-12 are eligible to apply this year. PAEMST is the nation’s highest honor for teachers in this field and is awarded annually by the President of the United States. The awards alternate each year between recognizing extraordinary elementary and secondary school teachers. Nominations may now be submitted through the online form until April 1, 2015. Once an educator is nominated, he/she must complete the application by May 1, 2015. Selected teachers receive special recognition from the President of the United States, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for the celebration and professional development activities.

Since 1983, PAEMST has recognized more than 4,300 educators for their contributions in the classroom and to the teaching profession. NSF administers PAEMST on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows currently serve on PAEMST team to support the awards program. at NSF. To nominate a deserving teacher or learn more about the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, visit


CCSSO Offers Best Practices in Leadership Policy

Last week, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) hosted a webinar, “Key Strategies for Effective Educational Leadership Policy.”  The webinar provided strategies for policy development and implementation to ensure a pipeline of strong school and district leaders, which the presenters contended is on the top of state policymakers’ education agendas.  Two case studies were presented to demonstrate best practices.  Hilda Rosselli, director of College & Career Readiness at the Oregon Education Investment Board, discussed some of the strategies her state has used in their 40/40/20 project—shorthand for a goal to have 40 percent of students graduate with a bachelor’s degree, 40 with an associate’s degree, and the remaining 20 with at least a high school diploma.  Part of that effort has been to focus on leaders who can inspire and support their staff, and creating a seamless system for preschool through college, said Rosselli.  The other case study came from Mary Bivens, an evaluation systems consultant for the Colorado Department of Education, on the passage of SB 191 in the Colorado General Assembly in 2010 that focused on aligning principal evaluations with reinforcement of teacher systems and alignment of education preparation programs and principal quality standards.  Learn more about 40/40/20 here and about Colorado’s SB 191 here.